Drought Watch

By: Amy Gleason
By: Amy Gleason

Russell Lisky's prize cattle haven't suffered too much from the drought. Like a lot of farmers he just had to buy more hay. He's hopeful we'll get some rain.

"Maybe by fall we could get some rain and could salvage some stuff. Maybe we could get some hay." Others won't be as lucky.

"It's going to hurt our farmers," said Jeff Ishee, farm director for WSVA. "There's no doubt about that. They're having to spend money on things that they wouldn't have in their budget."

Ishee says 40-Virginia rivers are experiencing record lows. And Rockingham County's ground water levels are 18-feet below normal.

"Farmers and our rural citizens are having wells go dry, farm ponds are dry. It's just been a very dry summer," added Ishee.

But not dry enough. Without the drought disaster designations, farmers won't qualify for low interest loans. Ishee isn't surprised.

"Even though we think the Shenandoah Valley is dry...and it is...it's not as dry as it is else where," he added. And those hit hardest will get the little bit of money that Richmond has to give.

Ishee says the state budget crisis did hurt Valley farmers chances at getting relief. He adds cotton, peanut and soybean crops are suffering the worse. Rockingham County is re-applying for drought disaster area status. It will reassess the crops and ask the governor for help.

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